Sunday, July 23, 2017

Did A Little Air Rifle Shooting Yesterday

Yesterday I went to my friend Nick's place, outside of Pottstown, PA to do some shooting. Nick owns about 8 acres and we're able to shoot pistols, shotguns, .22s, and airguns without disturbing the neighbors.

After running some buckshot and slugs through my home defense Mossberg 500 Mariner, we changed over to air rifles. Nick has an RWS Diana Model 50 .177 underlever that he bought when we were in high school or college, 30 - 35 years ago.

The Diana Model 50 is a really nice shooter. It cocks via an underlever and you load the pellets via a rotating tap at the breech. Nick used to have a peep sight on it, but now that we're both closing in on 50 irons aren't nearly as easy to use as a scope, so he put a Hammers airgun rated scope on it. It has a mildot reticle and the optics seem decent, but as a cheap scope I'll be interested in seeing how well it holds up. I shot the Model 50 a little and once I determined where it was hitting for me, I was able to plink empty 12 gauge hulls from a rest at about 30 yards.

I brought along my RWS Model 34 .177 that I got in the mid-90s. It came as a combo kit with a POS 4x32mm RWS scope. I had replaced that with a Bushnell Trophy 6-18x50mm scope but was never really pleased with the combination. With the big Bushnell installed it's a heavy beast. A year or two ago I'd zeroed the rig for about 28 yards, the distance to my back fence when shooting out the window from my dining room table. (I had a problem with birds eating the grass seed on a bare patch in my yard. They needed discouragement.)

Anyway, when shooting yesterday my rifle was shooting really low and when I tried to raise elevation it didn't seem to work, so I'm thinking the scope may have bit the dust.

Last night I went to Amazon and ordered a UTG 3-9x32mm Bugbuster compact, air rifle rated scope, along with a UTG 11mm rail to Weaver adapter that compensates for barrel droop. The rail is intended for the RWS 34 and has a part that hangs over the front of the factory rail, to prevent rearward movement.

From reading reviews of the scope on Amazon and Pyramid Air it looks like it'll work out well, and the rifle will handle a lot better without the ginormous Bushnell mounted on it.

I should have them this week and hope to go back out to Nick's to try it next weekend.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Restored Knight Kit Ocean Hopper Radio

I posted a few years ago about this receiver originally built by my father in 1967.

A co-worker of mine with better soldering skills than me replaced the main capacitor and brought it back to life.

The round white thing with wire wrapped around it is a tuning coil. To switch bands you swap out the coils. I currently have one for 40M in the radio but have others around here somewhere that I need to find.

I fired it up tonight for the first time since getting it back and was able to pull in a shortwave station from South Carolina, some Spanish language broadcasts, what must've been distant AM stations (judging by them playing Phil Collins and Manfred Mann), and finally, China Plus News from Beijing. Tuning in a station required you to futz with all the knobs on the front. It makes you appreciate modern digital tuning. Heck, it makes you appreciate superheterodyne receivers!

The antenna I have it connected to the Ultimax-100 40-6M end fed on my roof, which is setup as a N-S sloper. I cut a piece of lamp cord, stripped the ends, and put an alligator clip on one end. I connected the bare end to the Fahnestock clip on the radio and the alligator clip to the center conductor of my antenna feed coax.

Fun stuff.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Saturday Night Range Report

Last night I hit the range with Dad and put some more rounds through the Ruger SR22 along with my CZ P-09.

I put around 75 Remington Golden Bullet hollow points, 100 Golden Bullet solids, and about 60 Federal 550 bulk pack hollow points through the Ruger. The gun didn't have any malfunctions that weren't related to ammo. To wit:

--Four of the Golden Bullets required a second hit to ignite.
--Three of the Federals required second hits.
--One of the Golden Bullet cases split and needed to be pushed out with a cleaning rod.

This batch of Golden Bullets seems especially bad. Previous range trips in which I've shot a couple hundred rounds of it had no more than one misfire per trip.

That's the most problems I've ever experienced in one range session with .22 ammo. When folks point to the unreliability of rimfire ammo as one reason .22s aren't suitable for defense (ballistics aside), this is what they're referring to.

In contrast, I've experienced exactly one misfire with CCI .22 rimfire ammo, among thousands fired.

The Remingtons seemed loaded hotter than the Federals, something I've noticed before. They also spit a lot more -- after virtually every shot I felt unburned powder granules on my face. I won't be using it when teaching my daughter to shoot.

I continue to be pleased with the Ruger SR22. The SA trigger is smoothing out, although the DA pull remains long, heavy, and has a lot of creep.

My round count through the CZ was much lower. I ran one 50-round box of Speer 124 grain Gold Dot JHPs through it as a function check. My dad also put 30 rounds of Fiocchi 9mm 115 grain ball through it. As expected, it worked fine. The pistol has over 500 rounds through it so far without any issues.

Dad brought his S&W Model 67 with some .38 Special 158 grain LSWC handloads and his S&W SW9VE, aka the "Smegma." The SW9VE is an economy gun but gets a bad rap because it isn't as refined as the M&P. Dad's has been trouble free for over 1,000 rounds.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

More Range Time with the Ruger SR22

My daughter and I hit the range yesterday and brought along "her" Ruger SR22. I put 20 CCI SV rounds through it.  She shot it unsuppressed, so I had her use Remington Golden Bullet high speed brass-plated hollow points.

Golden Bullets don't have a very good reputation for quality but as of a couple years ago Remington seems to have improved them. They run well and give good accuracy in my Remington Nylon 77 and 550-1, so I wanted to see how the Ruger would handle them.

My kid put at least 150 Golden Bullets through the Ruger. We had one failure to go into battery that was resolved by bumping the back of the slide, and one misfire. After trying a second hit, then ejecting the misfire and rotating it 180 degrees, it went off. This isn't unusual with cheap bulk .22 ammo.

I'm happy to see the Ruger function well with the Golden Bullets. They were one of the few types of .22 ammo I was able to lay in a good supply of during the 0bama years.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Ruger SR22

I've recently been considering acquiring a second compact .22 autoloading pistol. A few years ago I picked up an Israeli surplus Beretta Model 71 Jaguar, which is a really nice shooter. However, factory magazines are unobtanium and if something breaks, I'm probably SOL.

This Father's Day I was given $100 in Cabela's gift cards, which I used last week towards the purchase of a Ruger SR22. The specific model I got is the 3604, which sports 3.5" threaded barrel.

About 5 or 6 years ago, Ruger introduced the SR22 which is a small DA/SA .22 semiauto pistol styled much like the Walther P22 (which in turn looks like a scaled-down P99). The Ruger has a much better reputation for reliability and durability, according to what I've seen online.

First some stats, then shooting impressions.

  • Action: Semiautomatic, blowback, with double action/single action trigger.
  • Safety: Combination safety/decocker
  • Hammer: External
  • Barrel: Stainless steel, 3.5" long with muzzle threaded to accept a 1/2x28 coupler*.
  • Sights: Three-dot dovetailed into the slide. Rear is adjustable for windage and elevation.
  • Weight: 17.5 oz.
  • OAL: 6.4"
  • Height" 4.9"
  • Width: 0.97"
  • Frame: Polymer with interchangeable grip sleeves.
  • Slide material: Aircraft aluminum, anodized black.

From Ruger's North Carolina factory, the pistol shipped with a chamber flag in place, two 10-round magazines, two extra magazine baseplates to replace the pinky rests installed on the mags, a lock, the thread coupler, and a wrench for the coupler. A thread protector was screwed onto the barrel. It came off with moderate force using the wrench.

It also shipped with two interchangeable grip sleeves. Mine was fitted with the one that has a palm swell. I have fairly small hands and it fits me well. My 13 year old daughter also liked how the gun felt.

And of course, it came with an owner's manual, literature about the NRA, and a couple Ruger stickers.

Before shooting the Ruger I field stripped and lubricated it with some FP-10, since it was bone dry.

Field stripping and reassembly is straightforward. Certainly a lot easier than my Mark III 22/45 Lite. To field strip, unload the pistol, drop the hammer using the decocker, and then open the takedown latch in front of the trigger. The slide can then be pulled up and to the rear, off the frame rails, and then slipped forward over the muzzle. Note that the thread coupler has a flange around it that will prevent the slide from slipping forward over the barrel. If the coupler is installed it must be removed prior to field stripping.

The magazines are easy to load. Each has a thumb button to aid depressing the follower.

I haven't shot it for groups yet but did get a couple hundred rounds through it while plinking at a few old hard drives and a self-healing rubber target. The first 95 were CCI Standard Velocity rounds shot through my Form 1 suppressor. I also put a lone CCI CB Long through the can, which as you'd imagine was very quiet. The remainder were Federal Automatch high speeds shot unsuppressed. The gun had no malfunctions.

A primary reason for buying the Ruger was to get a pistol that my 13 year old daughter could comfortably hold and shoot. It excels at that and she's trying to claim it as her own after shooting it this weekend. Even with my silencer she's able to hold it steady and frequently hit our plinking targets. My next step will be to get her shooting at paper.

Incidentally, being able to shoot it suppressed is a major advantage when training a new shooter. My can is hearing safe when fired outdoors with standard velocity ammo. Being able to give instruction in a normal conversational voice instead of having to shout to be heard is damn nice. Contact your reps and let's get the Hearing Protection Act passed!

My initial impression, along with my daughter's and that of my friend who shot the SR22 are all extremely favorable. I hope to run a few more different kinds of ammo through it soon, and shoot it on paper to check group size and fine tune the zero (which is pretty much on already).

*Most modern shooters insist that they be referred to as "suppressors." Their inventor, Hiram Maxim, named them "silencers." Under the National Firearms Act, they are "silencers," even if "suppressor" is a more technically accurate term.